Review: ‘Spamalot’ at Diamond Head Theatre
BY JANE KERNS / Special to the Star-Advertiser
London’s 02 Arena is presently hosting a Monty Python reunion. Concurrently, Diamond Head Theatre is offering local theatergoers a large dose of infectious Python humor.
The hit musical “Spamalot” is Python member Eric Idle’s reworking of the groundbreaking 1975 film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Idle’s book and lyrics guide an anachronistic plot centered on King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the quest for the elusive grail. The movie’s nostalgic scenes and characters are extravagantly enhanced through song and dance numbers.
Presented by Diamond Head Theatre
» Where: Diamond Head Theatre, 520 Makapuu Ave.
A Pythonesque sense of humor isn’t required to appreciate the show’s antics. The eclectic score by Idle and John Du Prez adds an onslaught of laughably silly spoofs of favorite classic musicals.
The cast’s synergy and their obvious enjoyment of the roles and material make it easy to join in the fun. Most performers take multiple roles, relying on physical comedy to accentuate the tongue-in-cheek British dialogue.
In the male-dominated cast, the real show stopper is Kalia Medeiros as the Lady of the Lake. It takes a great diva to play one, and Medeiros, with amazing aplomb, blows her musical numbers out of the water. The Laker Girls joyously perform rousing team cheers, and jive to music in every way, shape and form.
Each leading man performs his own special song with great conviction, enjoying a well-deserved spot in the limelight.
Wearing the bejeweled crown of the agreeably pompous King Arthur, Laurence Paxton directs the action, declaring, “God be praised, we have a quest!” Aided by his trusty servant Patsy (Venis Goodman), he proceeds to round up his knights.
We meet Sir Galahad (Butch DePonte-Merideth), Sir Bedevere (Braddoc DeCaires), and Sir Lancelot (Garrett Hols), who gets to cleverly address the gay marriage issue, informing his newfound love, “Just think, Herbert. In a thousand years time this will still be controversial.”
The singing, dancing Sir Robin (Tony Young) explains that theatre people are “… a different people, a multi-talented people, a people … who need people … and who are, in many ways, the luckiest people in the world.”
“Spamalot” audiences consider themselves lucky to participate. The smash hit won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical, and ran nearly four years, spawning a West End run, several national tours, and professional productions in twenty countries.
The sets, props, costumes and hair, lighting and sound design are as colorful and sonorous as the characters. The behind-the-scenes crew obviously worked arduously and passionately to materialize the show.
New York guest director and choreographer Andrew Sakaguchi brings out the best in each performer, and creates a diversity of stylized production numbers that keep the whole crazy entourage moving forward.
Musical director Phil Hidalgo also keeps things hopping, skillfully interweaving comedy with song, and producing an ideal sound balance between the performers and the tightly-knit band.
“Spamalot” is an enlivening journey. If British humor isn’t your cup of tea, but the names Not Dead Fred and Sir Bedevere the Strangely Flatulent make you smile, consider a quest for absurdly enjoyable theatre.
Jane Kerns is a doctoral student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, holds degrees in theatre and vocal performance, and has performed as an actor and singer in New York City.